Monday, June 9, 2008

Mostly Autumn, Lincoln Drill Hall, June 7th

I love the music of York's finest band so much that this was the fifth gig of the tour I've been to. Their huge epic sound references many 70s classic rock bands from Pink Floyd to Fleetwood Mac to Deep Purple, but they've far, far more than the sum of their influences.

Another new venue for me, the Drill Hall in Lincoln. It's a old Victorian building which has been very extensively refurbished a couple of years ago; standing down the front, and tiered seating down them back. The venue was nowhere near full; this is a band that really need to put as much effort into publicity as they do to their music. They deserve to be filling far larger venues than this.

This gig marked the welcome return of Jon Spence on the mixing desk, and it showed. When a band has four vocalists, two guitarists and two keyboard players, as well as the odd flute, they're very dependent on a good soundman getting both the balance and the separation right. This was probably the best sound mix I've heard so far on this tour; despite being directly in front of Bryan Josh, his guitar didn't drown out the rest of the band, Anne-Marie Helder's flute and Livvy Sparnenn's backing vocals were noticeably more prominent in the mix, which is a good thing.

With the tour nearing the end, the lineup has well and truly gelled now; new drummer Henry Bourne is possibly the best man behind the drums they've had while I've been following them, and Anne-Marie has really fitted in well on multiple instuments; seeing her really going for it on the tambourine during 'Never the Rainbow' is proof she's a very different personality than Angie Gordon, who she replaced at the beginning of the year. And as for Liam Davidson and Iain Jennings, it's great to see both of them back. Iain's Hammond organ pyrotechnics on 'Never the Rainbow' reminded us of what was missing last year. And Heather Findlay, now six months pregnant, just gets better and better on lead vocals.

The two-hour setlist is the same as the last few shows, with four songs from the new album "Glass Shadows", and also drawing heavily from "Passengers". Of the new songs, 'Unoriginal Sin' is turning into a incredibly powerful live number, Heather channelling all that anger and bitterness from the middle of last year, and is made all the stronger by mixing Anne Marie's and Livvy's harmony vocals much higher; very much the high spot of the first half of the set. 'Tearing at the Faerytale' is equally powerful and emotional live. And 'Flowers For Guns' has just got to be a single.

The oldies were equally good; I've never heard them play a bad version of 'Evergreen' and tonight's was no exception; 'Carpe Diem', one of those songs that relies heavily on the sound man getting the balance between Bryan's guitar and the vocals right, was magnificent, and 'Heroes Never Die' is finally making the hairs on back of my neck stand up again; Anne-Marie may have struggled with that flute part on the intro earlier on the tour, but tonight she nailed it.

Just two dates left on this tour now; at Leamington Spa on Thursday 12th, and Stocksbridge the following night. Catch them if you can, they're worth it. After a couple of festival dates, the band will be taking an extended break while their lead singer is on maternity leave.


TracyK said...

Oooh, the Drill Hall is our local venue, we really like it and they do a cracking beer festival. Shame we are both up to our eyeballs in reports and exam marking, that sounds like a great night out.

Tim (Kalyr) said...

Still tickets available for the final night of the tour in Stocksbridge, a bit north of Sheffield.

Doesn't DarceysDay live somewhere round there?

darceysdad said...

30 miles further north, Tim. But I've no chance of getting out tomorrow night!

Tim (Kalyr) said...

And you mean you didn't have this in your diary for weeks? ;)